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Election coverage from WYPR and NPR

Some voters show up for early voting, more than half a million Marylanders asked for mail-in ballots

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John Lee
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Early voting is underway in Maryland.

On the first day of early voting for Maryland’s midterm election, an early voting center in Baltimore County had a steady flow of voters on Thursday morning. Early voting will continue statewide on Friday at 7 a.m. until Nov. 3 at 8 p.m. Election Day is Nov. 8.

There are dozens of early voting sites across the state, including seven in Baltimore City and 11 in Baltimore County.

The Honeygo Run Community Center in Perry Hall is one early voting center in Baltimore County.

When voters pulled into the lot there were dozens of campaign signs for them to see before entering the building. Once they got out of their cars and made their way to the center, voters got one last pitch from candidates and campaign workers.

Local resident Diane Cohen said she had never voted early before. She was doing it because she is going to be away on Election Day.

“The people here were unbelievably lovely,” Cohen said. “They were so helpful. It was fast.”

Cohen said she hit a snag but was still able to vote quickly. Her requested mail-in ballot never showed up. If voters request a mail-in ballot but show up in person to vote, the only option is to fill out a provisional ballot. Voting was still a piece of cake, she said.

“It was a great experience,” Cohen said. “It took less time than it does at my regular voting site.”

During the 2020 General Election more than 987,000 voters cast ballots during early voting, according to the Maryland State Board of Elections. In Baltimore County more than 133,400 individuals cast ballots during early voting and more than 59,600 in Baltimore City.

More than 43,600 voters cast ballots statewide on the first day of early voting, according to the Maryland State Board of Elections. That includes 6,127 in Baltimore County and 2,557 in Baltimore City.

Individuals seeking to vote by mail but haven’t yet requested a ballot, they need to do so by Nov. 1.

More than 605,200 mail-in ballots were requested across the state as of Oct. 26 and more than 218,200 have been received by election boards. In Baltimore County, there were 88,756 mail-in ballots sent and 34,921 received so far. In Baltimore City there were 54,596 mail-in ballots sent to voters and 20,144 have been received so far.

Maria, who didn’t want to give her last name, said she voted early to skip the hassle of Election Day.

“I’ve come on the voting day and the lines are just ridiculous,” Maria said. “To have this is nice. I’m not too big of a fan of voting with the mail-in.”

Voters at Honeygo gave various reasons for casting their ballots this year.

Bob Andrew said he was there to help keep our democracy functioning.

“I think I need to vote,” Andrew said. “A vote is important to democracy. I took care of that.”

Doris Pittillo said her main issue is putting criminals behind bars.

She said she’s supporting candidates who will “lock them up and keep them.”

Voters can cast ballots at any early voting center in their jurisdiction.

Same-day registration is available in-person across Maryland at the early voting centers or on Election Day. Individuals registering in person must provide documentation to prove their residence such as drivers license, paycheck, bank statement or utility bill.

John Lee is a reporter for WYPR covering Baltimore County.
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